Don’t Quit! (unless you need to)

We’re already halfway through the second week of NaNoWriMo everybody!

Last night at a write-in, a few of the other writers and I discussed how the second week is often the hardest. The excitement and newness of the first week has worn off. The end of the month is far enough away that we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. And many of us have reached the point in our novel where we’ve set everything up, introduced all our main characters, and now we have to figure out what’s next.

It’s also far enough in that if your behind on your word count it could seem impossible to catch up. You might think you’re too far behind to finish and it’s best giving up now.

Stop!Don’t give up on yourself!

Before you give up take a moment to assess why your behind. If you haven’t set aside a dedicated writing time each day, see if there’s something you could do without for the month (perhaps tv?) and spend that time writing. Are you behind because you just can’t seem to write 1,667 words in a day? Then set yourself a new goal. Maybe you can write 1,000 words a day, or 500. But don’t stop writing just because you feel discouraged. Stuck in your novel? Trying jumping ahead, or going back and writing some character backgrounds. There might be something you discover that will help propel your story forward. Try checking out a local write-in or chat with people online. Being around other writers and having people you can talk to who get it really does help.

However, there are reasons to throw in the towel. The first two years I attempted NaNo I was busy with work and spent most of my evenings at rehearsals. Initially I tried writing in my few moments of downtime, during lunch and any spare moment I had. But it all was just too much. I didn’t have any time to relax and recharge and I quickly realized that not only was I going to burn out before the month was over, I wasn’t even going to be happy with what I was writing.

Perhaps think about it in terms of running a marathon. If your giving up just because it feels hard, your probably going to look back and regret not making the attempt to finish that race. But if you stop because you injure yourself, you’re going to be glad you stopped before you did permanent damage.

So don’t give up on yourself, be kind to yourself and believe that you can do it. And along with being kind, don’t beat yourself up if you have to stop. Take the time to heal, refresh, and prep yourself for success next year (or month, or week, whenever you jump back in).

Happy writing!

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